First Phone patch session

Last Friday night, I had my first phone patch session. And not only did it go off without a hitch, it gave me pause to wonder why other voice-over people use expensive equipment to achieve results I got for virtually no extra cost.

After researching phone patches, I heard the JK Audio phone patch is pretty good, but requires a mixer. I don’t have a mixer, nor do I want to add one more piece of gear into my signal chain. The more pieces you have in your chain, the more room to introduce noise or signal degradation. The Symetrix is an old workhorse, but is nearly impossible to find. The Telos One is very reliable, but runs upwards of $700. So what to do?

I had a long chat with my new friend Frank Frederick over the phone on Friday morning (not only is a he a wonderful voice talent, but a super nice guy). I was considering a software alterative such as Skype, but he recommended a certain low-tech solution: A hands-free set. Yeah, the same hands-free set that comes with every single cell phone. The client isn’t going to ask what kind of phone patch you have. So don’t invest in something expensive to impress the client.

So Friday night rolled around and I attached my hands-free set to my cordless phone, clipped it onto my belt and put my regular headphones over top. I had the client in my left ear and the recording audio in my right. As I recorded the audio on my end through my studio mic, the client could also hear me through the mic on the hands-free set. It worked flawlessly, the client was able to direct me and it never came up as to how I was doing it. And in the unlikely chance the client will ask me to play back the recording over the phone? I’ll put the receiver of another phone next to the speakers.

To paraphrase Frank: There is no reason to invest in expensive equipment to solve a problem that has a low-tech solution. The client cares about the end result, not the process by which you get there.

To top it off, a possibility of a recurring gig came about from my agent at Big Fish. But I need a phone patch to be able to do it. After a few days of emailing back and forth, I was little nervous. What kind of phone patch are they going to require? The answer? Many of my agent’s talents use a speakerphone in the studios. And these are established pros using low tech solutions.

Who knew?


About Jeffrey Kafer

I am a Seattle-based voice over artist specializing in audiobooks, but also working in corporate narration and commercials. You can find me at View all posts by Jeffrey Kafer

2 responses to “First Phone patch session

  • Brett Weaver

    I am a little late (Like by a year!) But, I was wondering, what if you used a cel phone? I have my first session on Monday and because I didn’t know exactly how to set up a phone patch session, I balked and now am going to a studio.

  • Jud Niven

    I’m a little late too, but I came across your blog as I googled “Phone patch for clients” My solution is kinda low/high. I did buy the JK AUDIO phone patch…but this is how I intend to use it. For a directed session, I have a speaker phone in my studio, the client can hear me as I record. I have the phone all hooked up to my M-audio interface so I can also record what the client has to say on a seperate track…the Patch also allows me to play back the audio through the phone….

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